Today marks the official end of the Christmas Season. Over the past few weeks we have seen Jesus grow from an infant to a pre-teen to an adult embarking on his ministry. This feast of the Baptism of the Lord reminds us that the ministry of Jesus began with his being filled with the Holy Spirit. So too, our ministry as Christians begins with our baptism whether as an infant or as an adult. The major difference between our baptism and that of Jesus is that almost immediately after his baptism Jesus began to proclaim the Gospel. For most of us, we ease into our mission as Christians. We take time getting our feet wet. And for some of us, our ministry as Christians never takes off.
Even prior to his baptism, Jesus was proclaiming the kingdom of God. He was drawing people to himself as an infant, teaching them as a pre-teen, and being identified as the Christ by John the Baptizer. Today’s feast is a challenge to us that we must do what Jesus did. We need to bear witness to who God is by living as Christ did. The first reading from Isaiah reminds us that we have been chosen by God and have been given a ministry. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to draw people to God and invite them to conversion of mind and heart.
After today’s celebration, we enter the time of Winter Ordinary Time. This year it is very short as Lent begins in mid-February. The question upon which we are called to reflect is, “How do I live out my baptismal calling?” Do I take Isaiah’s words to heart? Do I proclaim God’s kingdom? Do I point out the Christ is the midst of the assembly?
Our baptism means that we must act. We cannot sit on the sidelines and complain about what should be; rather, we need to work for the change that we know needs to happen. Jesus’ own ministry was very short; yet look at how much he accomplished. What will our accomplishments be with the time we’ve been given?